Guess it was the Chocolate shake. As a kid I loved it when the sweetened cocoa became all moist, almost like a bolus. When it became chocolatier, I just loved it. My mum used to keep it in a glass jar and I loved scraping it from the bottom of it. I tell you it’s the chocolate’s fault.
A lot of people have asked this to me a zillion times. When did I realize I was different? When did it all happen? But I’m just too bored of counter-questioning them, “When did you realize you were normal?” It’s too main stream you see. So I finally thought of thinking for a better answer, an answer that perhaps makes more sense. So yes! It was a process. One fine day, I started having the chocolate milk shake. And then I had more of it. Chocolate or more precisely cocoa enhances human libido. So I felt it for the first time. Sparks flew by. Butterflies in my stomach and Whoosh! “The Gay within me was born”. I remember watching Kaho Na Pyaar Hai during those days. Okay, wait! Was it Hrithik Roshan? What the frack! Now I’m confused. Was it the chocolate shake or was it Hrithik Roshan? These gorgeous Indian actors I tell you. Especially Hrithik Roshan. With his Greek God looks, he can make any individual attracted to the male race of humans, fall on his or her knees. But after I fell for him I don’t remember falling for any other man till it was 2007. Okay, so this is getting more complicated. I can never forget 2007. The year when I realized I wasn’t asexual. Ranbir Kapoor! I was instantly turned on by his super-good looks. Trust me, I mean it when I say this. He’s my most versatile crush. Period. So what was it that “un-gayed” me for all these years till it was 2007? Okay, now I remember! I was busy fighting the bullies.
Moving on, I remember when one of these guys from my class back in 2006 associated me with eunuchs and how I kept cursing him the entire day. One of my cousin brothers had told me back then that it was a curse to be a eunuch or a homosexual. Like I always say, “Ignorance and unawareness is the real curse”. Why are we still so eager to live in a dark dingy cell of conformism after all these years of pain and the struggle that so many people have been through? How many of us know about Harvey Milk? The man who lived fearlessly and fought for the Queer, the first out gay man to be in the US administration who was eventually murdered. We’ve come a long way from the days when AIDS didn’t even have a name. The eighties, the outbreak of AIDS, the hopelessness that people lived with, the death of legends to safe-sex education. What makes us so rigid and headstrong about the hatred and the disgust that we associate the queer community with? Why do we look down upon gay men? What makes us so shallow? Why do we feel less dignified when someone associates us with the LGBT Clan? Some of us either don’t know about it or they don’t want to know about it. But what’s more important to know is that sometimes we don’t have to understand to love, care and support.
Another question that I come across the most has to be, “Who’s gonna be the wife?” Okay, so let’s just teach ourselves to look at a relationship beyond the existence of a male and a female aspect to it. Let’s just look at it as two women or two men in love. Simple!
It’s funny how I try ‘un-gaying’ myself for all these years only to eventually accept my sexuality. And, did I just find the ultimate trick to un-gay myself? I’m like so intelligent! So what I can do is I can continue to fight my bullies and keep crying like a damsel in distress. That way I can like so un-gay myself. So where’s the Nobel Prize for Peace? Of course I deserve one now. No gays, no killings, no stoning of gays in Kenya, and therefore peace all around. Enough of self-appreciation now!
Cut to 2009. It’s Noida. New place, new people, new school and it felt as if it couldn’t have gotten better. I was trying the best to act like the macho man. No preconceived notions meant I could do my best to develop a new ‘Anwesh’ who would not have to go through the condescending behavior that I was constantly meted out with in my previous school. And now I’m like, “Did I actually do that? Phew!”
My mum was pretty upset when I joined Kathak classes last year. In fact she thinks the reason I still don’t know how to drive is because I don’t have enough male friends. And the funny thing is all my girlfriends know how to drive. Most of them also have a license. Sometimes I felt guilty. Guilty, because I was perhaps not doing enough for her as a son. I never wanted to go out and play football. I was someone who’d rather stay back home and look at his sister taking her dance lessons. I’ve never felt that the reason I stink at sports is because I’m gay. I’m not good at it because am not good at it. I know the reason why my mum never wanted me to join a classical dance class. She was scared that a dance class would screw up my demeanor. I used to get extremely upset thinking of the reason why she never wanted me to learn something I was so passionate about. But I’m glad that I knew that I’d never be able to magically suppress all that was building inside my heart. I’d never be able to lead a dual life. We live in the 21st century and there’s nothing to feel low about joining a dance class or standing by my originality. My mum is simply trying to protect me from the judgmental minds all around, from people looking down upon me. But there are times when I find it very tough to understand that. I feel like she doesn’t want me to do it, because she just doesn’t want me to do it. And then months after I joined the dance class, I came out to her. There was a lot of denial for days. And I knew that would’ve happened. When it took me two years to accept myself for who I am, my mum would surely not accept my sexuality in seconds. But I knew things would fall back in place. And they did. Had I not come out to her, I would’ve never realised how amazing she is. No matter what, your family will always be the biggest support. So don’t be scared. Self-denial is one of the worst things you could do to yourself. Take the plunge and fight the alligators head on. Okay, so coming back to the question. What made me fruity flavoured?
Well I certainly didn’t choose to be. But if the concept of re-births exist, then I’d happily choose to be gay for the rest of my lives. I don’t want my life to be ‘seedha-saadha’. I want it to be exciting and great! My friends often ask me, “Why associate homosexuals with the word gay? Why can’t they be called justhumans?” And that is a very good way of thinking about it. But what I know is that I’ve fallen in love with my homosexuality. I like being that “gay guy in fancy pants”. I love the tag. Because it has given me a lot more than it has cost me. It has given me so much goodness that I’ll carry with me forever. Thank god I am.
By Anwesh Sahoo